• Polish wine for sale at summer festival
  • Grapes at Jasiel winery in Jaslo, Poland
  • Poland Culinary Vacations guests visiting Adoria vineyard in Lower Silesia region of Poland
  • Delicious food shared with Poland Culinary Vacations guests in Gronkow village, Podhale, Poland.
  • Krakow Market Square, Poland.
  • Oscypki sheep cheese sold at Zakopane, Poland open market
  • Poland Culinary Vacations guests cooking in Obidowa village, Podhale, Poland.
  • Poland Culinary Vacations guests at the Culinary Institute in Cracow, Poland.
  • Chicken livers with apples from Wesele restaurant in Krakow, Poland.
  • Musicians playing for visitors heading on their rafting trip at Pieninski National Park.
  • Poland Culinary Vacations guests having lunch in Gronkow village, Podhale, Poland.
  • Poland Culinary Vacation guests rafting on Dunajec river in Pieninski National Park, Poland.
  • Boleslawiec Polish pottery from Lower Silesia region of Poland.
  • Modern Polish cuisine from Ancora restaurant in Krakow, Poland.
  • Poland Culinary Vacations guests posing in traditional costumes in Dlugopole village, Podhale, Poland.
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Archive for August, 2009

Cooking Your Way From Krakow to Zakopane – A Culinary Vacation in Poland – Day by Day.

Monday, August 31st, 2009

Day Three – Tuesday

 On Tuesday morning we met at Maria’s house in Lopuszna village and got right into cooking!  Maria, as I previously wrote, is 82 years old but has the energy and enthusiasm for life of a 25 year old!  She and other women were excited about cooking with us and sharing their favorite recipes.  So were we!  Their hospitality, humor, story telling and singing made the whole culinary experience even more enjoyable!  We will never forget the wonderful time we spent in Lopuszna!

With Maria in her home in Lopuszna village, Poland.

With Maria in her home in Lopuszna village, Poland.

Ken rolling out the dough for pierogi with blueberries.

Ken rolling out the dough for pierogi with blueberries.

Cooking with Maria in her country home.

Cooking with Maria in her country home.

No matter what region of Poland you visit, pierogi will always take the center stage, although there are hundreds of other region specific recipes cooked in family kitchens.  Because of the late summer season and availability of fruits such as blueberries, resberries and plums pierogi are made with those fruits and often eaten as dessert lightly sprinkled with sugar or sour cream with a touch of vanilla extract. We made pierogi with blueberries and those turned out just right! Delicious!

Pierogi are ready to be boiled.

Pierogi are ready to be boiled.

Poles eat lots of vegetable salads mixed with various cheeses or plain.  Those vegetables are often grated and mixed with herbs such as parsley, dill and chives.  Here, Ken is grating eggs for a regional egg, vegetable and cheese side salad.

Ken busy grating eggs for an egg and cheese salad.

Ken busy grating eggs for an egg and cheese salad.

Everyone makes moskole,  a variation of potato pancakes in Podhale– a subregion of Lesser Poland where highlander cuisine and culture dominate.  Moskole are simply made with potatoes – locally called grule – flour, an egg, salt and pepper.  

Nell cutting out moskole, regional potato pancakes as Maria looks on.

Nell cutting out moskole, regional potato pancakes as Maria looks on.

Ken making sure moskole are cooked just right.

Ken making sure moskole are cooked just right.

After all that cooking we decided to have our lunch outside in Maria’s garden since the weather has been gorgeous.  We ate moskole, with warm beans and cabbage side dish, drank home made nalewki and talked with the women about their life in Lopuszana. We also took lots of photos with them in their traditional costumes which are truly beautiful! 

Time to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

Time to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

Barbara wearing regional scarf with Jozefa, Maria and Danusia.

Barbara wearing regional scarf with Jozefa, Maria and Danusia.

Ken posing with Maria.

Ken posing with Maria.

Delicious, home made desserts are often served after each meal in Poland with tea or coffee.  Danusia often bakes for weddings and she brought the drunkard tort to share with us for dessert.  Again, fabulous!

Delicious drunkard tort made by Danusia.

Delicious drunkard tort made by Danusia.

After our cooking with Lopuszna village women we headed out to Debno Podhalanskie to tour the St. Michael the Archangel Church, which dates back to 15th century and is listed as the UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The interior is a masterpiece of decoration with the so-called stencilled paintings reminiscent of fabrics which were painted in tempera and are truly world unique.  

St. Michael the Archangel's Church in Debno Podhalanskie, Lesser Poland.

St. Michael the Archangel's Church in Debno Podhalanskie, Lesser Poland.

On our way back to Zakopane we also made a stop by bacowka, a highlander mountain hut, to learn how hand-made oscypek – a traditional smoked sheep cheese– is made.  The process is very interesting and time consuming. While in Podhale we also tasted the traditional sheep milk cheese called bryndza.  The locals also drink zentyca – which is simply fermented sheep milk.

In bacowka, highlander hut learning about oscypek cheese production process.

In bacowka, highlander hut learning about oscypek cheese production process.

Soaking oscypki cheese.

Soaking oscypki cheese.

Oscypki cheese before smoking process.

Oscypki cheese before smoking process.

Oscypki before the smoking process.

Oscypki before the smoking process.

Freshly smoked oscypki cheese.

Freshly smoked oscypki cheese.

Oscypek cheese - the finished product.

Oscypek cheese - the finished product.

Posing in front of bacowka.

Posing in front of bacowka.

We continued our drive to Zakopane through Chocholow village, a Podhale village with the best preserved complex of  wooden architecture and on the official Wooden Architecture Route of Lesser Poland region.

A house in Chocholow village on the Wooden Architecture Route in Lesser Poland region.

A house in Chocholow village on the Wooden Architecture Route in Lesser Poland region.

Houses in Chocholow village on Wooden Architecture Route in Lesser Poland region.

Houses in Chocholow village on Wooden Architecture Route in Lesser Poland region.

Artist at work in Chocholow village in Lesser Poland.

Artist at work in Chocholow village in Lesser Poland.

After finally arriving to Zakopane in the evening, we strolled through the open market there and took a tram to the top of Gubalowka hill from which we enjoyed spectacular views of Zakopane and surrounding mountain ranges. We decided to have dinner on Gubalowka hill at Dominium restaurant which offers pizza and traditional regional dishes, many from the grill, which is what we had.  It was a perfect place to unwind, drink cold Zywiec beer and talk about our favorite places and restaurants we visited during our world travels.

Outdoor market in Zakopane, Lesser Poland region.

Outdoor market in Zakopane, Lesser Poland region.

Selling honey at outdoor market in Zakopane, Lesser Poland region.

Selling honey at outdoor market in Zakopane, Lesser Poland region.

Grilled lamb with vegetables.

Grilled lamb with vegetables.

On Wednesday we headed to Gronkow village for our last cooking experience in Podhale.  Stay tuned and Smacznego!


Cooking Your Way From Krakow to Zakopane – A Culinary Vacation in Poland – Day by Day.

Friday, August 28th, 2009

 
Day Two – Monday

 
On Monday morning after breakfast we headed out to our first cooking class with women in the village of Rogoznik. The drive from Zakopane to Rogoznik took us through beautiful countryside, we passed several villages on the way, saw many animals: storks among them (which fly to Poland from northern Africa every summer to breed) cows, horses, sheep, goats, roosters and chickens.

Barbara with women from Rogoznik village in Lesser Poland.

Barbara with women from Rogoznik village in Lesser Poland.

Getting ready for a cooking class in Rogoznik village.

Getting ready for a cooking class in Rogoznik village.

 First, the women showed us how to make cranberry sauce with horseradish and some vodka and served it with oscypek cheese, the regional sheep cheese, as an appetizer.  The cheese was delicious, so fresh and went perfectly with the cranberry/horseradish/vodka sauce.

 

Oscypek with cranberry/horseradish/vodka sauce.

Oscypek with cranberry/horseradish/vodka sauce.

 We tried home made bread, and watched as the Polish women finished cooking regional cabbage soup called kwasnica.  This was the best kwasnica I’ve ever had!  The smoked bacon it was cooked with gave it the perfect flavor.

 

Home made bread.

Home made bread.

Kwasnica, cabbage soup.

Kwasnica, cabbage soup.

Besides tasting all the wonderful food and drinking home made nalewki, home made fruit and herb cordials, we also had a chance to admire and try on regional costumes which the local men and women wear on special occasions.  

 

Nell wearing regional costume. Looking like a real Podhalanka!

Nell wearing regional costume. Looking like a real Podhalanka!

Later we stepped outside and took  a short walk to our host’s fruit and vegetable garden right in the back of their house.  Fresh, seasonal fruit and vegetables are used in their daily cooking where the distance from the field to table is truly only a few yards away!

 

Enjoying Polish countryside.

Enjoying Polish countryside.

Stacks of beans drying out in the sun.

Stacks of beans drying out in the sun.

When we returned to the house, topielec, a poppy seed roll, was waiting for us.  Fresh from the oven, warm and moist, best poppy seed roll some of us ever tasted. Delicious! We all wanted the recipe and the women shared it with us!

 

Delicious topielec - poppy seed roll.

Delicious topielec - poppy seed roll.

Before we left the wonderful women from Rogoznik, we took some time to talk with them about their cooking, farming and life in the countryside in general. 

 

Time for rest and conversation with women from Rogoznik village.

Time for rest and conversation with women from Rogoznik village.

  We also had live band playing for us and the women sang and danced to their favorite songs as we said – Goodbye!

Since the weather was gorgeous in the afternoon, we decided to drive to Sromowce for rafting on the Dunajec River Gorge. During rafting we enjoyed excellent views of the Pieniny Mountains and our flisak – men in charge of the raft – who loved to tell Slovak jokes as the trip goes along the Polish-Slovak border.

 

Rafting on Dunajec River Gorge.

Rafting on Dunajec River Gorge.

 For dinner we visited Bakowo Zohylina reginal restaurant in Zakopane http://www.wyznio.zohylina.pl offering great food and live music every evening, which we really enjoyed!

 

Dinner at Bakowo Zohylina in Zakopane, Poland.

Dinner at Bakowo Zohylina in Zakopane, Poland.

Delicious trout from Bakowo Zohylina restaurant in Zakopane.

Delicious trout from Bakowo Zohylina restaurant in Zakopane.

 What a great and adventurous day!  On day three  we headed to Lopuszna village to cook with Maria, who is 82 years old and her friends.  Stay tuned and Smacznego!


Cooking Your Way From Krakow to Zakopane – A Culinary Vacation in Poland – Day by Day.

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

 Day One – Sunday 

 After picking up our guests from their hotels in Krakow on a gorgeous sunny morning and before heading out south to Zakopane we visited the Jewish district of Krakow called Kazimierz.  Later we decided to stop by the Pierogi Festival (Stuffed Dumplings Festival) going on in Maly Rynek in Krakow for a delicious lunch. Pierogi Festival is a real pierogi heaven! The festival takes place every August and is one of the most popular culinary festivals in the Lesser Poland region. We tried: pierogi Ruskie – with potatoes and cheese, with cabbage and mushrooms, with salmon, with spinach… fried, breaded and boiled. And of course we drank Polish beer Zywiec. It’s a great tasting beer especially with pierogi on a hot summer day.  

Pierogi Festival in Krakow, Poland

Pierogi Festival in Krakow, Poland

Salmon pierogi at the Pierogi Festival in Krakow, Poland.

Salmon pierogi at the Pierogi Festival in Krakow, Poland.

Besides pierogi, a famous traditional and regional sheep cheese oscypek was also available at the festival.  Oscypki are often served grilled with cranberry sauce. Later in the week during our cooking vacation in Poland we discovered how oscypki are made by highlanders in their mountain huts called bacowki.

Oscypki cheese at the Pierogi Festival in Krakow, Poland.

Oscypki cheese at the Pierogi Festival in Krakow, Poland.

Oscypki - regional hand-made sheep cheese.

Oscypki - regional hand-made sheep cheese.

A sign at the Pierogi Festival in Krakow, Poland.

A sign at the Pierogi Festival in Krakow, Poland.

 After enjoying the wonderful food, beer and live concerts at the Pierogi Festival in Krakow we joined our driver, Antoni, whom we later simply called Toni, in his mini bus to begin our short drive to Podhale region and Zakopane.  Zakopane is a beautiful mountain town south of Poland famous for the highlander culture and cuisine. 

Our guests stayed at Villa Marilor in Zakopane, a spectacular  ***** Hotel which was once a small palace and now includes a luxurious spa with swimming pool.  After settling into Villa Marilor we all gathered in the evening  for a festive Welcome Dinner at Villa Marilor restaurant, met the head chef Stanislaw Adamczyk and dined on local specialties.

Welcome dinner at Villa Marilor in Zakopane, Poland.

Welcome dinner at Villa Marilor in Zakopane, Poland.

Stanislaw Adamczyk, Executive Chef for Villa Marilor in Zakopane, Poland.

Stanislaw Adamczyk, Executive Chef for Villa Marilor in Zakopane, Poland.

Oscypki with bacon.

Oscypki with bacon.

Szarlotka - apple cake - with vanilla ice cream.

Szarlotka - apple cake - with vanilla ice cream.

We discussed day two of our culinary vacation in Poland during dinner. We headed to village of Rogoznik on Monday to cook with highlander women in their home but more on that in next post. Stay tuned and Smacznego!


Spice Up Your Poland Vacation with One-Day Cooking Class at the Culinary Institute in Cracow

Monday, August 24th, 2009

One-day cooking class at the Culinary Institute in Cracow

One-day cooking class at the Culinary Institute in Cracow

While visiting Krakow (Cracow) and Wieliczka we invite you to sign up for a one-day Polish cooking class at the Culinary Institute in Cracow (CIC) to give yourself a break from all the wonderfull sightseeing the area offers and an opportunity to learn how to make those famous Polish dishes like: pierogi, bigos, cabbage rolls, zurek soup etc.

Stuffed cabbage rolls made at the Culinary Institute in Cracow

Stuffed cabbage rolls made at the Culinary Institute in Cracow

Pierogi made at the Culinary Institute in Cracow

Pierogi made at the Culinary Institute in Cracow

Recently Mary and Elana from New York cooked with Chef Marek and Chef Rafal and had an unforgettable experience. Here are Elana’s comments after the class: “Our trip was OUTSTANDING! The sights were great, the food–all the things we did–it was a perfect trip. But especially the people–what warm, generous & lovely people! and with such an optimistic outlook–Poland is definitely on the rise again & it was so heartwarming to see it for myself. I am so proud of my Polish ancestry (I am a third generation American, actually). As for the CIC– it was one incredible way to spend the day. Chefs Marek & Rafal adjusted very quickly to our level of knowledge and kitchen skills (I think they were a little surprised that we really knew our stuff!) and showed us some very smart techniques and variations of dishes we might not have considered. For me personally, quality and selection of ingredients are of particular interest and they were happy to share their knowledge with us. The class was so great, and I am planning to send a thank you note thru their website this weekend.”

Elana and Mary as graduates of the Culinary Institute in Cracow

Elana and Mary as graduates of the Culinary Institute in Cracow

It’s easy to sign-up for one-day cooking classes at the Culinary Institute in Cracow! Follow this link http://www.polandculinaryvacations.com/day_classes.php or simply click on One-Day Classes tab above on this blog page Smacznego!


Szczesliwej Podrozy i Smacznego! (Happy Travels & Bon Appétit!)
 
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